3 Dead at Jewish Centers, Suspect Shouts 'Heil Hitler'

JCC was full of kids auditioning for 'KC Superstar'
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 13, 2014 3:04 PM CDT
1 Dead in Shootings at Jewish Sites in Kansas
Investigators work the scene of a shooting at Village Shalom in Leawood, Kan., Sunday, April 13, 2014. This was the second location of shootings that started at the nearby Jewish Community Center.   (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

Three people were killed and one was critically wounded today when a man opened fire at two Jewish sites—a community center and retirement home—in the greater Kansas City area, the Kansas City Star reports. Police later arrested a heavyset man at a nearby school who was smiling and making anti-Semitic remarks (including "Heil Hitler," reports KCTV-5). "It’s surreal," said Jeff Nessel, who had just dropped off his 10-year-old boy at the Jewish Community Center. "You don’t think it can happen here." A 14-year-old and his grandfather, who attend a nearby United Methodist Church, were among the victims.

At the time, the community center was full of students from around Kansas City auditioning for an American Idol-style competition called "KC Superstar" and a performance of To Kill a Mockingbird. Nessel said staff at the center didn't panic, and urgently shuttled about 60 people into another room. "They did a great job," he said. The killer then went to the Village Shalom retirement home in the suburb of Leawood and killed a female there, KSHB reports. Police said the suspect, apparently in his 70s, may have used a shotgun along with a pistol and an assault rifle. "He's a member of the club," said a JCC member. "But I don't know his name." (Read more Jewish stories.)

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